Republicans seem to think sending out a scandal-ridden, unpopular president will be the key to victory in November.
Trump endorsed and campaigned for two spectacularly failed special election candidates in the last four months. Yet Republicans claim he represents a key election asset for them this November.
“Even as fears grow within the GOP that Trump will cost Republicans the House, Senate Republicans say the president will play a starring role in the closely contested campaigns that will decide control of the chamber,” Politico reports.
“Trump will be front and center in every state that helped elect the president, according to GOP senators and strategists.” And he will be “making the case that Democrats are hindering his agenda.”
Democratic leaders are likely thinking along the lines of “Please let this be true.”
Sending out a historically unpopular sitting president as a campaign surrogate makes little sense. But if Trump insists on showing up, there is not much the GOP can do.
For now, they’ve adopted the talking point that Trump will be great for them in November. And they’re clinging to it even as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Trump’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, and subsequent obstruction of justice.
The GOP is planning on deploying Trump in red states, such as West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri.
And leaders also claim they want him to stump in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, and Nevada. Yet according to recent Gallup polling, he remains deeply unpopular in those six states. His approval rating is under 50 percent, and in some states it’s closer to 40 percent.
Just last week Trump tried to help the GOP capture a special election victory in a deeply red district in western Pennsylvania. That failed miserably. In fact, the Republican candidate Rick Saccone enjoyed a 12-point lead in January that quickly evaporated when Trump endorsed him.
And in December, Trump managed to shepherd Roy Moore to a landmark defeat in an Alabama statewide special election.
“The pattern here is every time he goes in, they lose,” notes Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Yet Republicans are undeterred. “In fact, despite his unpopularity on the national level, Republicans insist there isn’t a state on the Senate map where they are nervous about deploying Trump,” Politico reports.
That, of course, is a comical belief. Because based on the 2018 Senate election map, that means Republicans are comfortable sending Trump to New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. But his approval rating in those states is 30 percent, 31 percent, and 32 percent, respectively.
Republican leaders are either trying to sweet talk Trump by talking up how important he’ll be in the fall. Or they’re delusional about how despised he is in states across the nation.
In either case, it’s highly unlikely to work out the way they stubbornly hope it will.